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Empty shop units could be converted into GP facilities with £7m funding

Empty high street units could be converted.

Empty high street shop units could be converted into facilities for GPs with the help of £7 million of funding.

The cash, announced by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf during a visit to Lochee Medical Practice in Dundee, will be used to support primary care across the country.

The government says £2m will go towards the purchasing of empty high street properties, which can then be converted into specialist GP facilities.

Some properties could be used for vaccine distribution.

Mental health teams, vaccine distribution staff and audiology specialists are among those that will occupy the new sites.

The remaining £5m will be spent improving existing facilities, with plans to digitise records and provide better ventilation.

According to the Scottish Government, a 2019 survey of non-NHS GP premises revealed that 18,500 square metres alone was used for records, filing or archives.

Funding to ‘give GPs the space they need’

While not all of this space is suitable for clinic use, there are hopes that digitisation will free up some room and allow GPs to provide higher quality of care.

Mr Yousaf said: “GP surgeries provide a wide range of services, supporting both the physical and mental health of patients.

“So it’s vital they get the space they need to allow primary care multi-disciplinary teams to do their jobs.

Empty shops in Arbroath. 

“As we recover from the most challenging time in NHS history, our work is not only about providing access to services, but ensuring those services are high quality and inclusive for all of our communities.

“This funding will give GP practices the space they need to serve patients in the safest and most effective way.”

Initiative designed to help recruitment of GPs extended to Tayside

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